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Lawmaker wants to end unemployment discrimination

An Arizona legislator is introducing a bill to stop discrimination against unemployed workers.

Democratic state Rep. Ruben Gallego of Phoenix says the bill would add “long-term unemployment status” to the list of factors that employers are prohibited from considering.

Gallego says discrimination against the long-term unemployed is a “vicious cycle,” and those families risk losing unemployment insurance.

Workers who have been out of a job for at least 27 weeks are considered to have long-term unemployment.

State law currently prohibits hiring discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or on the basis of disability

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One comment

  1. This bill, if passed, would do a great deal of harm to business in Arizona. Mr. Gallego apparently doesn’t understand much about business and anti-discrimination laws.

    I have been a small businessman for over thirty years. And when you have laws that ban discrimination, to defend yourself it isn’t enough to simply not discriminate. You have to be able to PROVE you didn’t discriminate. So what we do is that, on application forms, we do not ask any questions about race, religion, age, or anything that has to do with a protected class of citizens. So, if Mr. Gallego’s proposal were put into law, the only way to guarantee avoiding lawsuits under it would be to eliminate any questions about work history. The problem is that work history is a legitimate and relevant subject of inquiry. It’s the first thing I look at on a resume, and the first people I put in the rejection stack are the job-hoppers.

    I have a novel idea – why not just let employers decide who they want to hire? You know, sometimes, I have actually been looking to hire someone who is out of work. But I will always want to know why they are out of work.

    If you pass a law like this, I will tell you the unintended consequences, and this is from talking with other small business people. You will be creating a great disincentive for hiring ANYONE. That will be the safe way out – just don’t hire anyone.

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